The North Face Bleecker Stretch Pant Review
The Bleecker Stretch Pants by The North Face are women-specific, ski/ride pants, new for this winter. The Bleecker Pants feature more than simply feminine colors and slightly smaller sizes; TNF has tailored these pants to the female body in order to optimize shape and comfort.
- The Bleecker cut is a low rise, straight fit through the hips and thighs, with a boot cut or flare. These pants feature not only belt loops, but also velcro side tab adjustments along the outside to further tailor the fit. I found that the Bleeckers sit just above my hip bones and tended to stretch out a bit after a few days on the mountain (I’m guilty of washing ski pants only a few times a year). Having on-mountain adjustment options is a convenient feature to keep them snug, and prevent a draft or snow from entering. The overall fit was true to size. I am not used to wearing fitted ski pants, so it took a few days to get used to form-hugging outerwear.
- The flare of these pants serves two purposes; it gives them a flattering style, but it also allows the pants to easily go over the top of ski or snowboard boots. The cuffs are reinforced for friction along the interior ankle area (visible in lower picture), however, this scuff guard area is small compared to other ski pants that I have tested, and may lead to faster wear and tear with ski tips, poles, etc. An elastic internal gaiter goes over the top of your boot and helps keep out snow when you find yourself in some serious powder. Thus far, the gaiter has done its job; it stayed put and kept snow out on some early season turns. These pants feature one rear zippered pocket, and two zippered ‘hand-warmer pockets’. I found that these front pockets are too shallow to really use to warm your hands, and are better suited for holding your season pass or lift ticket. The right pocket includes an internal clip, which is nice if you keep your season pass in your pocket all year long, or if you want to hook your keys onto it for added security. Placing a cell phone in these pockets is not advised because, due to pocket placement, it becomes bothersome when sitting on the chair lift.
The Bleecker Stretch Pants are waterproof, and constructed from HyVent® 2L stretch twill that is bluesign® approved (this means that the fabric used to construct these pants was made using the cleanest, most stringent methods around). The fabric works to keep you warm and dry, while continuing to have some degree of breathability. I tested these pants primarily at the resort while alpine skiing in temperatures ranging from 10-35 degrees F. I found that these pants had enough insulation to keep me comfortable at the lower temps when wearing my merino base layers. The Bleecker relies upon TNF Chimney Venting to expel hot air, as opposed to a half or full zip ventilation system. During backcountry pursuits, I would be concerned that the ventilation may be insufficient. In addition, knee and cuff reinforcements may be too minimal for backcountry extremes. Therefore, I feel that these pants are intended for, and best suited for, in-bounds pursuits at your local ski hill or mountain.
- The Bleecker Pants are available in size XS to XL, in three colors: deep purple, black, and white. MSRP $189.